Hartree, Douglas R.

[Offprint of] "Recent and Prospective Developments in Large Digital Calculating Machines"

  • Scarce early computing offprint describing ENIAC and the IBM/Harvard Mark I. Only the third of Hartree's computer publications, this offprint appeared shortly before the more well-known Cambridge University Press pamphlet Calculating Machines: Recent & Prospective Developments. The only two pieces published prior to this were an article in the journal Nature and a shorter article in the Journal of Scientific Instruments (published July 1947, the same month as the present). In addition to his contributions to ballistics and quantum theory, British mathematician Douglas Hartree (1897-1958) was also a leader in efforts to automate scientific calculations. He was "involved in the development of the digital electronic computer, which emerged from wartime attempts to automate calculation further... In 1946 Hartree's advice was sought in the application of the United States army's ENIAC (electronic numerical integrator and computer) to the production of ballistic tables" (ODNB). The present paper begins with a short history of mechanical and electrical calculating, describes the functioning of the Mark I and ENIAC, and notes some prospective developments, including the construction of the EDVAC and ACE computers and the principle of the acoustic line delay. The original owner of this offprint was the prominent Swedish chemist Gunnar Hägg.
  • [London:] Royal Naval Scientific Service Journal, July 1947. 10-page stapled offprint. Ownership ink stamp of Gunnar Hägg and date ink stamp "Dec 1947" to first leaf. Upper staple lacking, a little minor creasing and toning. An excellent copy.

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